The LAFD Remembers Julia Bennett

Friday, January 27, 2006 |

Chief Bamattre embraces Julia's husband Paul. Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Daily News. CLICK TO VIEW MORE


The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department warmly remember their beloved colleague Julia Bennett.

Above: Paul Bennett hugs Los Angeles Fire Chief William R. Bamattre as daughter Brittney and mother-in-law Linda Gordon look on at Thursday's memorial to victims of the Jan. 26, 2005, Metrolink crash. Bennett's wife died in the accident.

Story and more photos by Hans Gutknecht available at www.dailynews.com

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire Department Welcomes City Controller's Audit

Thursday, January 26, 2006 |

The City Controller's Audit of Los Angeles Fire Department management practices was released today. Although the audit did not assess the Department's public safety activities or readiness, such as the LAFD's Fire Suppression or Emergency Medical Services, it did examine four Fire Department issues:

  • Leadership / Communication

  • Human Relations Issues

  • Complaint & Disciplinary Process

  • Recruit Training Academy


  • Fire Chief William Bamattre reviewed a draft copy of the audit and expressed his general agreement with the preliminary audit recommendations.

    The Fire Department will use the opportunity of this independent audit, to review Department management practices. The Fire Department will work collectively and aggressively to incorporate audit recommendations with many improvements already initiated. The Fire Department will continue to actively collaborate with all employee organizations and stakeholders to improve Department working conditions.

    Fire Chief Bamattre said, "I am very proud of the public safety service that the LAFD provides, however, I will not be satisfied until the Fire Department excels in all its responsibilities."

    The Los Angeles Fire Department is a full-spectrum life safety agency protecting approximately 4 million people who live, work and play in America's second largest City.

    The LAFD's 3,562 uniformed personnel protect life, property and the environment through their direct involvement in fire prevention, firefighting, emergency medical care, technical rescue, hazardous materials mitigation, disaster response, public education and community service.

    Last year alone, the men and women of the LAFD responded 713,762 times to Los Angeles' citizens requests for emergency assistance.

    Major Fire Damages LA's 7th Street Market

    Monday, January 23, 2006 |

    On Monday, January 23, 2006 at 9:58 AM, twenty-five Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three Arson Units, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Rehab Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, one Helicopter, two EMS Battalion Captains, seven Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Deputy Chief, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, and other LA City and LA County agencies, under the direction of Deputy Chief Mario Rueda responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at the Intersection of East 8th Street and South Central Avenue in the Central City/Fashion District.

    First units on the scene reported a large two story produce building with a 150' x 150' portion of the structure well involved with fire on the first and second floors. (slideshow)

    Due to the wind factor, one LAFD helicopter was requested to patrol down wind for hot embers and brands that could ignite other structures.

    LAFD battles 7th Street Market Fire on January 23, 2006.


    Firefighters entered the first floor with handlines to aggressively attack the fire that was spreading rapidly to the second floor and attic area. During the interior fire attack Firefighters encountered rapid fire spread and a large volume of heat and fire that forced them to withdraw from an interior attack and take up a defensive position on the exterior of the building with handlines and heavy stream appliances. (images)

    After approximately two-hours and one minute, over one-hundred and seventy Firefighters confined and extinguished the fire in several produce businesses on the first floor of the "7th Street Market" and vacant offices on the second floor. (video)

    Division walls separating portions of the large structure prevented significant vertical and horizontal fire spread to other uninvolved portions of the building.



    Shortly after Firefighters had been ordered off a sagging portion of the roof, it collapsed.

    Firefighter safety, preservation of produce in other parts of the building, the integrity of the structure's roof, floor and walls, the large volume of fire causing rapid fire spread, and downwind observation, were just some of the special concerns of the Incident Commander directing Fire Ground Operations at this Major Emergency Structure Fire.

    No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is listed as under investigation. Fire damage is estimated at $1,000,000 ($800,000 structure and $200,000 contents).

    Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Wind Whipped Fire Damages Homes in Tujunga

    |

    On Monday, January 23, 2006 at 5:03 AM, fifteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two LAFD Helicopters, one Deputy Chief, two EMS Battalion Captains, one Arson unit, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team and other LAFD support personnel, under the direction of Deputy Chief Mario Rueda responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 10020 North Fairgrove Avenue in Tujunga.

    First units on the scene reported a one-story single family dwelling well involved with fire and winds gusting in excess of fifty miles per hour (video).

    As the winds fanned hot embers and brands throughout the area, Firefighters immediately requested two water dropping helicopters to assist in downwind observation and structural protection.

    As a result of the wind driven fire from the original fire, two other structures sustained minor to moderate damage (10011 N. Fairgrove Avenue., minor damage & 10022 N. Fairgrove Avenue., moderate damage) and one motor home at 10046 N. Tujunga Boulevard was destroyed. Two other structures at 10015 N. Fairgrove Avenue and 10019 N. Fairgrove Avenue sustained fire damage and are being investigated as possible separate fires starting at the same time as the original fire at 10020 N.
    Fairgrove Avenue.

    Firefighters used handlines to aggressively attack and extinguish the fires in approximately one hour and six minutes. Downed power lines that energized a chain link fence and the strong gusty winds presented special concerns for Firefighters during this incident.

    Two adult females and a teenage male were home at the time of the original fire at 10020 N. Fairgrove Avenue and all three suffered minor smoke inhalation and were transported to Verdugo Hills Hospital in good condition.

    One Firefighter suffered a facial laceration during firefighting operations when he was struck in the face by a flying object. He was subsequently transported to Olive View Medical Center in good condition.

    Fire cause is still under investigation. Total fire damage is estimated at $390,000 to include structure and contents.

    Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Motorist Collides with LAFD Unit Responding to Fire

    Sunday, January 22, 2006 |

    On Sunday, January 22, 2006 at 12:12 PM, two Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Heavy Rescue, one LAFD Flatbed Transport, one Bulldozer Tender, two EMS Battalion Captains, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief James Gaffney responded to a Traffic Collision with LAFD Involvement near 13230 Vaughn Street in Pacoima.

    Los Angeles Fire Department Hazardous Materials Squad 70 (2005 Pierce, LAFD Shop #60664), had been dispatched in emergency response mode as part of the first alarm assignment to a structure fire in the Pacoima area, when it was struck by a civilian passenger vehicle at the signal-controlled suburban intersection of Vaughn Street and Glenoaks Boulevard in the northeast San Fernando Valley.

    The Northridge-based unit, one of four LAFD Hazardous Materials Squads, is staffed by specially certified Los Angeles Firefighters who may be deployed citywide to assist in a broad variety of emergencies not necessarily involving hazardous materials. Their formal dispatch to a residential structure fire within one mile of their reported location, is in keeping with LAFD protocol.

    According to witnesses, LAFD Squad 70 was traveling southbound on Glenoaks Boulevard with its full-complement of emergency warning lights and siren activated, when it was struck broadside by an eastbound compact sedan at Vaughn Street.

    The force of the collision on the right side of Squad 70 caused a complete dislocation of the Squad's rear axle, physically impairing its control. Despite the Squad driver's efforts, the Fire Department vehicle struck a utility pole and compact sedan stopped nearby.

    As their vehicle came to rest, Squad 70 personnel radioed for assistance and immediately went to the aid of motorists involved in the collision. Scene safety and traffic control were quickly implemented and additional Firefighters and Paramedics soon arrived to commence an orderly triage, treatment and transportation of the injured.

    Occupying the tan Mitsubishi Galant sedan that struck the Squad broadside were a 25 year-old female driver, her mother and daughter. All occupants were properly restrained by seat belts, and only the driver was desirous of medical treatment and transport for non-specific injuries.

    Within the late-model silver Honda Accord sedan that had properly yielded curbside to the approaching emergency vehicle, were three members of one family. The 51 year-old male driver, his 48 year-old wife alongside him and 15 year-old son seated in the rear, were all properly seat-belted in the car. The son appears to have sustained a fractured clavicle, while his Mother and Father complained of neck and back discomfort.

    The four LAFD personnel in Squad 70 were all wearing seat belts in accordance with LAFD policy and California State Law. The forceful collision caused a Fire Captain to sustain neck and back pain. The remaining members of his unit declined immediate treatment and transportation.

    The four civilians and Fire Captain were transported by LAFD Ambulance to area hospitals, including Providence Holy Cross Medical Center and Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in minor to moderate distress.

    None of the injuries is believed to be life-threatening, and no other injuries were reported.

    The fire that Squad 70 was responding to was a working blaze of undetermined origin that consumed two upstairs rooms of a nearby home. There were however, no serious injuries related to the fire.

    Along with Los Angeles Police Officers from the Foothill Community Police Station and the Valley Traffic Division, the LAPD dispatched it's Specialized Collision Investigation Detail (SCID) to the incident. The California Highway Patrol Southern Division assisted them with the deployment of specialized personnel and equipment.

    Pursuant of policy, the Los Angeles Fire Department has launched a separate formal investigation of the collision.

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Firefighters Gain Quick Control of Pacoima Blaze

    |

    On Sunday, January 22, 2006 at 12:06 PM, six Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, three LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one EMS Battalion Captain, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team and one Division Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Jack Wise responded to a Structure Fire at 12818 Filmore Street in Pacoima.

    Firefighters arrived quickly during a period of strong winds to discover fire showing from the west side second floor of a two-story single family home.

    Alerted by a properly functioning Smoke Alarm, the home's four occupants were able to flee unharmed prior to the Fire Department's arrival.

    Despite sustained 35 mile-per-hour winds, Firefighters using handlines, aided by precise vertical ventilation, skillfully confined the fire to a pair of upstairs rooms, extinguishing the flames in less than ten minutes.

    An adult male neighbor, who apparently came to aid the occupants upon witnessing the smoke and fire, sustained minor lacerations to his arm. He declined Fire Department treatment or transportation.

    No other injuries were reported at the fire. However, an LAFD unit was struck by a civilian vehicle while responding to this incident.

    Loss from the fire is estimated at $70,000 ($50,000 structure & $20,000 contents). The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Carelessness With Candle Sparks Mid-City Blaze

    |

    On Sunday, January 22, 2006 at 6:59 AM, eleven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Squad, one EMS Battalion Captain, two Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, all under the direction of Battalion Chief Ralph Ramirez responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 2126 South Ridgeley Drive in the Mid-City area.

    Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy smoke showing from one upstairs unit of a two-story eight unit apartment building. Firefighters made their way up the enclosed interior stairway to aggressively attack fire in a bedroom area, extinguishing the flames in just 14 minutes.

    The 26 year-old male occupant of the involved unit, who sustained minor injuries when he at first tried to battle the flames, was able to rescue his two small dogs from the dwelling during his escape.

    Medically assessed at the scene by LAFD Paramedics, he declined treatment or transportation. There were no other injuries, and the animals were unharmed.

    The American Red Cross was contacted to provide the man with temporary housing assistance.

    Loss from the fire is estimated at $85,000 ($75,000 structure & $10,000 contents). The cause of this fire is attributed to carelessness with a candle that the occupant placed upon his bedspread.

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Dorsey High School Blaze Causes $250,000 Damage

    Saturday, January 21, 2006 |

    On Saturday, January 21, 2006 at 1:04 PM, six companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one EMS Battalion Captain, and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Fred Mathis responded to a reported Structure Fire at 3537 South Farmdale Avenue in the Crenshaw/Baldwin Hills area.

    First units on the scene reported a one-story structure, 50' x 150', on the campus of "Dorsey High School" with heavy smoke showing.

    Firefighters using forceable entry tools, forced their way into the building and using handlines aggressively attacked the fire that was being held in check by the the school's sprinkler system. The fire was extinguished in twelve minutes.

    Further investigation by Firefighters revealed that the building involved in fire was being used partially as a Culinary Arts classroom and a cafeteria.

    No injuries were reported.

    The cause of the fire is listed as under investigation. Fire damage is estimated at $250,000. ($200,000 structure and $50,000 contents).

    Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Structure Fire Claims Civilian's Life

    Thursday, January 19, 2006 |

    On Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 7:06 AM, thirteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three Arson Units, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, one EMS Battalion Captain, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team all under the direction of Assistant Chief Tony Varela responded to a Structure Fire at 7101 Hayvenhurst Avenue in Van Nuys.

    Scene of Civilian Fatality Structure Fire


    When Firefighters arrived on scene, they were immediately confronted with heavy fire from a single story, 50' x 75' commercial building.

    Firefighters forced entry and began an aggressive interior attack on the fire as additional Firefighters conducted vertical ventilation operations on the roof. Due to the volume of fire and concerns for Firefighter safety, incident commanders were preparing to shift from an offensive firefighting strategy to a defensive firefighting strategy.

    Fortunately, prior to shifting strategies, Firefighters were able to gain control of the stubborn blaze in just thirty minutes.

    The structure, previously used as a printing company, was vacant at the time of the fire. As Firefighters were attacking the fire, they discovered one fatality within the structure. A male, severely burned, was determined to be deceased at the scene.

    A total of 97 firefighting personnel participated in mitigating this emergency. The circumstances of the fire and fire fatality remain under investigation. There were no other injuries reported. The dollar loss is still being tabulated.

    Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Firefighter Falls Fifteen Feet and Fractures Ankle

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006 |

    On Tuesday, January 17, 2006 at 11:02 AM, seven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one EMS Battalion Captain, and one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Greg Gibson responded to a Smoke Investigation at 1143 S. Wall St. in Central City/Fashion District.

    Firefighters arrived to find light smoke in a three story commercial building. As firefighters were investigating, attempting to find the origin of the smoke, it was determined to be coming from an elevator shaft. Firefighters used ground ladders to access the roof of the structure in an effort to locate the fire. A 26 year-old firefighter from a local fire station entered the penthouse.

    Finding heavy smoke in the penthouse, the firefighter stepped off the penthouse landing, attempting to descend to the floors below using the stairwell. The stairs descending from the penthouse had be either partially or totally removed during renovation of the occupancy. The missing stairs were obscured due to the heavy smoke within the penthouse.

    The Firefighter began falling head first, approximately 10' to 15' to the floor below. Fortunately, the firefighter was able to grab hold of a stationary object as he fell, causing his body to spin, which caused his lower extremities hit the floor below first. A "Firefighter Down" alert was immediately transmitted and fellow firefighters began to conduct a rescue operation of their injured comrade.

    The Firefighter was removed from the building by fellow Firefighters and transported to California Hospital. The Firefighter suffered a severe fracture to his ankle. The injury will require surgery and the Firefighter will be hospitalized for several days.

    After the Firefighter was removed from the building, a small fire was located on the second floor, near the elevator shaft. The cause of the fire and the circumstances surrounding the injury is currently under investigation. The dollar loss is still being tabulated. There were no other injuries reported.



    Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Firefighters Prevent Fire Spread at Sulfur Plant

    Sunday, January 15, 2006 |

    On Sunday, January 15, 2006 at 7:01 PM, eleven Companies of LosAngeles Firefighters, four LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two Hazardous Materials Teams, one Foam Tender, two EMS Battalion Captains, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Ray Olsen responded to a Hazardous Materials incident at Anaheim St. and Schley Ave. in Wilmington.

    Firefighters arriving on scene found a 150 x 250 steel storage building with light smoke escaping from the rear of the structure. Noticing that the building was placarded with a hazardous materials placard, Firefighters donned full personal protective equipment and breathing apparatus before leaving the apparatus to investigate the origin of the smoke. As Firefighters entered the building, they were confronted with large mounds of yellow sulfur. A tractor, used to move sulfur product within the building had caught fire and spread to a small area of the surrounding sulfur.

    The building, occupied by H.J. Baker, a sulfur processing plant had self
    evacuated prior to the arrival of Firefighters. A full Hazardous Materials response was requested and access by the public to the surrounding area was restricted until it was determined safe by members of the Hazardous Materials Task Force using air and water monitoring equipment.

    Firefighters using handlines and Class A foam were able to contain the fire in just over one hour and limit the spread spread of the fire to the tractor and the sulfur immediately surrounding the it. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries. The dollar loss is estimated to be $6000 ($5000 tractor and $1000 surrounding product.) The cause is listed as accidental.



    Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    LAFD Stems HazMat Leak at Port of Los Angeles

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006 |

    On Wednesday, January 11, 2006 at 1:48 PM, 9 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, including 2 Hazardous Materials Task Forces, 2 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 EMS Battalion Captain and 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Battalion Chief Ray Olsen responded to a Hazardous Materials Investigation at Berth 130 in the Port of Los Angeles.

    Neighborhood Firefighters responded quickly to the Trans-Pacific Container Service facility and were directed to a large (two to three thousand gallon) intermodal liquid shipping container with a slow leak of an apparently corrosive substance.

    Preliminary indications of a one ounce discharge from a valve every four to five minutes caused Firefighters to cordon off the immediate area, remain uphill and upwind while summoning additional resources, including Los Angeles Fire Department Hazardous Materials experts.

    Incident Command was quickly established and the leaking substance formally identified as 3-Dimethylaminopropylamine.

    One adult male worker who had been assisting nearby with traffic control prior to the Fire Department's arrival, complained of a non-specific malaise. Following a field evaluation by LAFD Paramedics, he declined treatment or transportation.

    Using handtools, and prepared to deal effectively with the flammable and corrosive substance, Firefighters fully encapsulated in Hazardous Materials suits deftly secured the valve and the leak fully subsided.

    There were no other persons declaring illness or injury.

    Upon LAFD's successful resolution of the leak, the incident was turned over to shipping agents, local Law Enforcement and regulatory agencies as well as officials from the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Health Hazardous Materials Division.

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Groundbreaking For New LAFD Station 4

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006 |

    The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department cordially invite you to join civic and community leaders, including Fire Chief William Bamattre at the formal groundbreaking ceremony for new Fire Station 4, as well as an adjoining facility that will house a new Fire Department Dispatch Center, Department Operations Center and City Emergency Operations Center.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006
    1:30 PM
    Groundbreaking Ceremony for:
    - New Fire Station 4
    - New Fire Department Dispatch Center
    - New Department Operations Center
    - New City Emergency Operations Center
    Temple Street east of Alameda Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90012

    We are pleased to offer an interactive map and personalized driving directions to the groundbreaking site.

    Serving Little Tokyo, Chinatown, the Civic Center, Olvera Street and Union Station, new Fire Station 4 will replace an inefficient fifty-eight year old facility that cannot adequately address seismic safety, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, Building Code, ADA, fire protection and separate gender accommodation issues.

    Current LAFD Fire Station 4

    Built in the days following World War II to serve a then primarily residential 2.4 square mile district, the nearly six-decade old building has aging infrastructure that predates and fails to adequately support common business and living systems, as well as the rapid response, operational and training needs of a modern day Fire Department.

    Current Response District for LAFD Station 4

    Fire Station 4's current service district has evolved into a densely populated residential, business, recreation and transportation hub that demands expanded service capabilities, and the current site is too small to accommodate a replacement Standard Fire/Paramedic Station.

    The district population and emergency response activity for Fire Station 4 is expected to increase significantly in just this decade.

    LAFD Fire Station 4 Activity and Population Statistics

    New Fire Station 4 will be an efficient and appealing long-term asset for all who live, work, visit and travel through Little Tokyo, the Civic Center, Chinatown, Olvera Street and Union Station.

    The new Fire Station will be located alongside a new Fire Department Dispatch Center, Department Operations Center and City Emergency Operations Center that are being built concurrently.

    These synergistic multi-role emergency response and support facilities will bring convenience and efficiency to a diverse and essential workforce that looks forward to not only serving, but being active in the community.

    Designed to blend with the neighboring buildings, new Fire Station 4 will offer tasteful aesthetic features that will be displayed at the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 10:00 AM 1:30 PM.

    All members of the community are welcomed to attend this public event.

    We encourage you to learn more about new Fire Station 4 and the many Fire Department facilities being modernized by viewing a highly detailed on-line Monthly Progress Report in PDF format or the Proposition F website at:

    www.lafd.org/propf.htm


    To learn more about facilities funded by Proposition Q, please visit:

    www.lafd.org/propq.htm


    We look forward to seeing you on Temple Street east of Alameda Street for the formal groundbreaking ceremony at 1:30 PM on Thursday afternoon, January 19, 2006!

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    LAFD Battles Major Emergency Fire in Northridge

    Monday, January 09, 2006 |

    On Monday, January 9, 2006 at 3:51 PM, twenty-eight Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, nine LAFD Rescue Ambulances, two Arson Units, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Rehab/Air Tender Unit, one Emergency Air Unit, one Hazardous Materials Task Force, one LAFD Helicopter, three EMS Battalion Captains, five Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Roderick Garcia responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 19414 Londelius Street in Northridge.

    Firefighters arrived quickly during a period of strong north winds to discover heavy smoke and fire showing from a modern one-story 100' x 150' industrial building of concrete tilt-up construction amidst a minimally or unseparated block-long row of similar structures.

    A half-dozen workers had safely escaped the involved business,"Ideal 2000 Custom Cabinets", just prior to Firefighters arrival.

    Firefighters commenced a fierce initial interior attack on intense fire within the cabinet manufacturing firm, only to be driven back by voluminous flames that fed on volatile contents that filled the structure.

    Firefighters use handlines at the parapets. Photo by Orlando Ramos - LAFirePhotos.com

    With the subsequent compromise of the lightweight roof, a swift and well-coordinated transition to defensive tactics brought Firefighters with handlines to the parapets of the immediately adjacent businesses (photo), while master streams were strategically placed to bring the volume of water necessary to attack the free-burning fire (video).

    LAFD Helicopter serving as aerial reconnaissance and Command support. Photo by Orlando Ramos - LAFirePhotos.com

    Because of the wind and concern for flying embers, an LAFD Helicopter with video telemetry and infrared imaging capability was assigned for aerial reconnaissance and Command support.

    Winds kept large volumes of smoke at ground level. Photo by Orlando Ramos - LAFirePhotos.com

    With turbulent winds forcing large volumes of smoke low to the ground, more than twenty persons from one business immediately to the south were calmly and temporarily evacuated by Firefighters to prevent injury.

    A total of 187 LAFD personnel tenaciously battled the stubborn flames for one hour and seventeen minutes before confining the wind-swept fire entirely within the occupancy of origin (photo).

    No civilian or Firefighter injuries were reported.

    Fire damage has been estimated at $1,000,000 ($500,000 structure & $500,000 contents). The cause of this late afternoon blaze was categorized as electrical.

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    City & County Firefighters Battle Foothill Brush Fire

    Sunday, January 08, 2006 |

    On Sunday, January 8, 2006, at 2:00 PM, sixteen companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Assistant Chief Officer Command Team, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Arson Unit, one Battalion EMS Captain, two LAFD Helicopters, and other LAFD support personnel operating under a Unified Command with Los Angeles County Fire Department as the lead agency, responded to a Brush Fire in the County of Los Angeles near the intersection of Sayre Street and Shablow Avenue.

    First LAFD units on the scene reported approximately one half to one acre of brush burning in very rugged terrain with little or no winds.

    Firefighters using handlines and aided by helicopter water drops confined the fire to approximately one acre of moderate to heavy brush and extinguished the fire in forty-eight minutes.

    No homes were threatened and no injuries were reported.

    The Los Angeles County Fire Department will determine the cause of the fire.

    Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Firefighters Quickly Extinguish Overnight Wildfire

    Friday, January 06, 2006 |

    On Thursday, January 5, 2006, at 11:37 PM, thirty-one companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, Firefighters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, one Deputy Chief, one Assistant Chief Officer Command Team, seven Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one EMS Battalion Captain, two Arson Units, the Tractor Company, five LAFD Helicopters, two Los Angeles County Helicopters, two Water Tenders, and other support personnel, under the direction of Assistant Chief Roderick Garcia operating under a Unified Command with Los Angeles County Fire Department, responded to a Major Emergency Brush Fire near 20371 Wynfreed Lane in the Porter Ranch area.

    First units on the scene reported a Brush Fire burning east of Browns Canyon in rugged and almost inaccessible terrain.

    Firefighters using handlines and aided by a substantial number of water drops by LAFD and LA County Helicopters aggressively attacked the fire that was being fanned by winds up to twenty-five miles per hour. (photos) (video).

    The fire was confined to approximately sixteen acres of brush that burned partially in the City of Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles. The flames were extinguished in approximately two hours and fourteen minutes.

    No structures were threatened and no injuries were reported.

    The cause of the fire is listed as under investigation.

    Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Firefighter's Quick Action Saves Officer and Woman

    |

    On Thursday, January 05, 2006, at 6:43 PM, six companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, one Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, one Battalion EMS Captain, and two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, under the direction of Battalion Chief Richard Markota, responded to a person threatening to jump from a tall building at 15720 Ventura Boulevard in Encino.

    The first LAFD Rescue to arrive reported an adult female on the sixth floor balcony of a six story office building. In order to provide additional information to arriving fire companies and law enforcement personnel, an LAFD Firefighter/Paramedic carefully proceeded up the stairs to the sixth floor to gain a better perspective of the situation.

    As the Firefighter/Paramedic remained a safe distance from the individual, an LAPD Officer arrived on the sixth floor. Seeing the Officer and without a warning or dialogue, she slid under the railing in an attempt to throw herself off the balcony.

    As this was happening, the LAPD Officer lunged for the woman (video) and managed to grab hold of her clothing as she became very combative. With the woman completely over the edge and in his grasp, the Officer began to slip under the railing.

    Realizing the precarious situation that both were in, the Firefighter/Paramedic quickly leaped from behind the door, grabbing the Police Officer's belt, preventing both from a definite fall.

    The Firefighter/Paramedic suffered a minor injury but remained on duty.

    The Los Angeles Police Department took the female into custody and they are investigating the incident.

    Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Arson Blaze Guts Vacant Crenshaw Business

    Monday, January 02, 2006 |

    On Monday, January 2, 2006 at 11:37 AM (PST), eleven Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, six LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, one EMS Battalion Captain, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one Division Chief Officer Command Team, all under the direction of Battalion Chief Ralph Ramirez responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 3855 West Santa Rosalia Drive in the Crenshaw District.

    The first Company arrived quickly to discover heavy smoke showing from a one story 50' x 60' commercial structure.

    Firefighters extended handlines and forced entry to do battle within a vacant commercial building that was well involved with fire, threatening structures across breezeways to the north.

    The aggressive and well-coordinated efforts of eight-five Los Angeles Firefighters confined the fire to the structure of origin and brought the flames under control in less than 25 minutes.

    There were no injuries.

    Fire loss to the non-occupied building is estimated at $51,000 ($50,000 structure & $1,000 contents). The cause of this blaze has been categorized as incendiary.

    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    LAPD & LAFD Teamwork Protects Homeless

    |

    On the morning of January 2, 2006, the Los Angeles Police and Fire Department combined resources and established a Unified Command System to proactively address issues of homeless encampments and citizens in peril near urban flood control systems.

    These locations are often the site of preventable swift water rescues that endanger citizens and rescuers alike during severe storm activity.

    Hidden Dangers Imperil Victims and Rescuers

    In a cooperative effort that highlights LAPD and LAFD interoperability, a Joint Command Post was established at a Sherman Oaks Fire Station and an Incident Action Plan using specialized resources from both agencies was utilized with success.

    The Los Angeles Police Department deployed Officers from the Mounted Unit of their elite Metropolitan Division, and were also represented by Command Staff.

    The Los Angeles Fire Department deployed four Swift Water Rescue Teams, two Bulldozers, five Brush Patrols, LAFD Air Operations and Command Staff, including formal representation at the Police Departments "Department Operations Center" (DOC).

    Firefighters and Police Officers worked in close cooperation to skilfully handle a broad variety of critical task level assignments.

    LAPD Officers Escort Man From Dangerous Site

    For example, the Los Angeles Police Department took responsibility for patrolling public recreations areas for homeless residents in the path of rising waters at the Sepulveda Basin, Hansen Dam and Tujunga Wash.

    As a result of these Police patrols, five homeless residents were rescued in the Sepulveda Basin through the combined efforts of the Fire and Police resources.

    In addition, approximately 20 people were removed from danger at the Hansen Dam Recreational Area.

    Rescue efforts were significantly enhanced by the LAFD Air Operations Section "Forward Looking Infra-Red System" (FLIR). With this state of the art system, LAFD Air Operations personnel were able to locate two homeless people who could have easily been missed in the deep brush and grass.

    Thick Brush Hides Many Homeless Encampments

    In light of recent swift water rescues, the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department remind all local residents of the need to remain safe and prepare their homes and families for the predictable impact of winter storms.


    Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Five Displaced in Apartment Fire

    Sunday, January 01, 2006 |

    On Sunday, January 1, 2006 at 1:07 PM (PST), fourteen Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, three EMS Battalion Captains, six Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team under the direction of Battalion Chief Jose S-Cronenbold responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 6919 Fulton Avenue in North Hollywood.

    Firefighters arriving on scene reported a two-story garden-style apartment complex with fire showing from the first floor.

    As Firefighters began extinguishing the fire on the first floor, additional Firefighters conducted search and rescue operations throughout the building. One Hundred and ten firefighting personal worked for twenty-two minutes to gain control of the fire while simultaneously providing protection to the surrounding units and their contents.

    Unfortunately, one adult female and four children (ages 17, 15, 13, 10) have been displaced as a result of the fire. The American Red Cross is assisting those individuals with any needs and accommodations.

    There were no reported injuries.

    During the investigation it was determined that the fire had started in a Christmas Tree. The dollar loss in the fire is estimated to be $110,000 ($70,000 Structure, $25,000 Contents, $15,000 Exposures).

    Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    Firefighters Use Thermal Imaging Camera To Limit Damage

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    On Sunday, January 1, 2006 at 8:27 AM (PST), ten Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, five LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, one Urban Search and Rescue Unit, one Hazardous Materials Team, one EMS Battalion Captain, three Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, and one Division Chief Officer Command Team all under the direction of Assistant Chief Tony Varela responded to a Structure Fire at 11456 Autumn Glen Court in Porter Ranch.

    The first Fire Companies on scene reported a two-story residential duplex with a significant amount fire in the attic. Firefighters were able to begin an initial fire attack using handlines while additional Firefighters conducted ventilation operations on the roof.

    The stubborn fire, which had started in the garage area, had extended up through the walls, progressed past the second floor and impinged upon the attic. Firefighters were able to control the fire and contain the majority of the damage to one unit, the garage, and attic area in forty-nine minutes.

    Firefighters, using thermal imaging cameras, were able to detect hot spots in the walls and attic area. The use of this detection technique allowed the Firefighters to concentrate their firefighting operations in the areas necessary. Firefighters were able to limit the damage to the structure by opening only those walls where fire was detected.

    There were no reported injuries.

    The dollar loss is estimated at $180,000 ($150,000 Structure and $30,000 Contents.) The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

    Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
    Los Angeles Fire Department